“...the idea that all cognitive and behavioural can be carried out in the absence of consciousness” is called ‘conscious inessentialism’ and is a red herring according to Anil K Seth, co-Director of the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science.
I find this a fascinating and exciting development. The Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science at the University of Sussex http://www.sussex.ac.uk/sackler/index is brand new having been officially opened only on 21st April of this year. Combined, as one strand, in their studies and research are neurophysiology and psychiatry. For instance, they are beginning to look at the kinds of separations from reality which are part of schizophrenia and other mental impairments with a good deal of progress in unravelling what the unconscious and conscious processes are - real hope for future treatment here.
I came across the Sacler Centre via an article in today’s Observer Review section entitled “The Search for Consciousness” by Anil Seth. This is a really good introduction to the intricacies of the work. However what sparked my interest most was the statement:
- “A hundred years ago, consciousness was at the heart of psychology, and it was only excluded following the advent of behaviourism, which focussed scientific efforts only on what could be observed objectively - behaviour, not experience. But now we recognise it’s OK to take people’s descriptions of their conscious experiences as proper scientific data.”
One of the things consciousness science seems to be implying is that dynamic forms of psychosocial therapy such as Rogerian counselling, transactional analysis and, of course, psychoanalysis are not as evidentially defunct as the powers that be, and the scientific community have been claiming. Perhaps this is a route towards better patient choice in IAPT - that is if whoever gets a government together continues to pursue the policy.
Whatever, the future of psychosocial therapy is going to be interesting.